Tomorrow marks the opening of the first exhibition to survey iPhone hipstamatic photography. Awarded ‘application of the year’ by Apple, this device recreates the experience of an old hipstamatic analogue camera on a modern camera phone. It has quickly attracted a mass of followers and self-made photographers, and this exhibition will display 157 photographs taken from hipstamatics.com, run by founder Jack Thomas. The works themselves are not artistically challenging, but the charm of the exhibition lies in its investigation into instant technology within modern society.
Dazed Digital: How did the concept for this exhibition come about?
Jack Thomas: The blog started to get some nice attention and a lot of submissions. After a few months and a few hundred posts, I realised that I had this ever expanding online photo reel dedicated to Hipstamatic and it felt right to try and do more with it. The natural progression was to showcase the best prints on the reel in a physical form. I got to chatting with Jeff at The Orange Dot about the idea of an exhibition for Hipstamatics and he got it straight away. They have a long history of being the first to try things and trying to push new movements forward, so it felt only right for us to work together on the first UK Hipstamatics show.
DD: Why do you think this form of digital hipstamatic photography has been so successful?
Jack Thomas: Probably for the same reasons that polaroid, photo booths and Lomography are so popular. I think people feel like they are creating something totally unique and personal to them. For me, its how unpredictable analog photography is and never being certain of the finished product. The Hipstamatic app has managed to harness that analog spontaneity and the feeling you get when your print comes through, but added in the fancy digital bits to make the whole process a bit more 2011.
DD: How did you go about selecting the works that will be exhibited?
Jack Thomas: In total we are showcasing 157 prints (which is the total amount of Hipstamatic original cameras ever made), so that gave us a fair amount of scope for variety, meaning I could try and select as many different styles and techniques as possible. The actual process of elimination was really tough because of the sheer amount of photos on the blog and in the end each photo made it through for different reasons. Its mainly about colour for a lot of the prints, I love the idea of taking something mundane or obscure and making it beautiful. Others are classically very strong photos, with the twist being that the quality was achieved using a mobile phone. The actual hanging of the show is the hardest part - trying to collectively make 157 prints work visually, which is where the experience of The Orange Dot very much comes in handy.
DD: Can you talk to us a bit more about hipstamatics.com and the concept behind it?
Jack Thomas: Hipstamatics started back in the summer after I had been trying to find some sites to submit my own shots to, and didn’t have any luck. I decided to start blogging my own and the best shots I could find on tumblr and flickr in the hope that people would start submitting their own prints. Luckily people started picking up on it and the site was off and running. Now I publish the best submissions to the site and still trawl the Internet for the best of the rest. The concept being that it’s a blog for Hipstamatics, both the prints and the people behind them.
An Exhibition for Hipstamatics opens tomorrow and runs until 31st January 2011 at The Orange Dot Gallery, London